Friday, January 18, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, January 18, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that after President Truman had proposed an 18.5 cents per hour pay raise for the steel workers, which was accepted by the union but rejected by U.S. Steel, it appeared that the 800,000 workers of the steel industry would begin a record-breaking strike at midnight Sunday night. U.S. Steel would not budge from its previous offer of 15 cents per hour, the limit to which, it claimed, it could afford to raise wages. The White House stated that the President had no plans to seize the steel industry.

Meanwhile, Standard Oil accepted the President's recommended 18 percent raise in wages to resolve that company's dispute which had resulted in government seizure of oil refineries.

Government attempts to resolve the meatpackers strike after three days continued.

Southern Senators aligned to block the bill to make permanent the Fair Employment Practices Commission, delaying a vote by demanding the reading of the minutes of the previous day's session, offering picayunish corrections. The Senators included Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia, John Overton of Louisiana, Allen Ellerton of Louisiana, Richard Russell of Georgia, John Eastland of Mississippi, John McClellan of Arkansas, and nine others. Senator Eastland stated that he would offer a thousand amendments to the bill and talk for two years if necessary to defeat it. Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi stated his intent to talk twice, 30 days each time.

The supporters of the bill were equally vigorous about getting it to a vote, vowing to take a cloture vote requiring a two-thirds majority.

The joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor voted not to call visiting Winston Churchill as a witness. Rear Admiral Kimmel continued his testimony, saying that he had not been appointed commander of the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii because of friendship with FDR, that FDR had agreed with him in June, 1941 that no further ships should be transferred from the Pacific to the Atlantic. He also refused to place blame on anyone at Pearl Harbor as having "muffed the situation", in response to an inquiry by Representative J. Bayard Clark of North Carolina.

At Nuermberg, the French opening statement continued.

Correspondent Spencer Davis describes a cold winter day in Chinhsien, China, half an ancient city, half a gaudy new city built by the Japanese during occupation. Some 30,000 to 40,000 Japanese remained in the city, occupied by 170,000 Chinese Government troops since November.

An Eastern Air Lines flight from La Guardia to Boston crashed in flames during daylight hours near Cheshire, Conn., with thirteen passengers and three crew members aboard, all killed.

Professor Auguste Piccard announced from Switzerland that he planned to explore the depths of the ocean, five times deeper than anyone previously had gone. The inventor of the bathyscape, development of which had been interrupted by the war, had become known for his stratospheric balloon flights.

On the editorial page, "We Are Out-Voted" reports that while the City Manager had agreed with the editorial suggestion of The News that the special projects bond be delayed until the fall and the water and sewer bond, of emergent need, be scheduled for the earliest possible separate election, it had been disapproved by the City Council. The problem was that the water and sewer project cost 4.5 million dollars and the other projects added another 1.5 million, possibly causing the voters to turn down the combined total.

"The Disfranchised Whites" explains that the South Carolina Senate had voted to repeal the state's poll tax, but the bill was voted down in the House 69-40.

But more important was the issue of the secret ballot, also being considered. Presently, a person desiring to vote in the Democratic primary and then switch to the Republican ticket in the fall election had to announce out loud his preference for a Republican ballot, informally nullifying his vote as it would be duly noted by the whites of the Democratic Party at the polling place. Most Republicans were black.

Ironically, the forces favoring the secret ballot were now those who wanted to keep the election the province of whites for the reason that they felt abandoned by the national Democratic Party. Thus, they wanted to free South Carolinians to vote for a national Republican ticket in the fall while preserving the state Democratic structure in the primary, a realistic possibility with so few voting in the general election. But it was a tightrope walk because the fear was that the Republican Party would give the franchise to blacks and thus potentially end the grip of the Democratic Party in state politics.

The South Carolina Democrats now found themselves boxed in by their own rules, tied to a national party which they believed no longer represented their interests—that is, first, foremost, and last, segregation, and its concomitant, states' rights.

"Christian Frontiers" comments favorably on a publication bearing the title of the piece, published by the Baptist Book Club of Chapel Hill. The first issue discussed Christian psychotherapy, the faith of Aldous Huxley, the place of Baptists in the labor-management crisis, and the atomic bomb. The publication was intended for laymen and was not couched in abstract theology, but rather practical, intelligent terms.

One piece tied the current hip phrase "Hubba-Hubba" to the progress of the human spirit, calling it an expression of delight, similar to Doubting Thomas's "My Lord and my God". The editorial then quotes what it asserts was a well-phrased paragraph on the topic.

It expected the publication to be well received by Baptists throughout the South.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "The Owners Should Act", comments on the three-month long strike of workers at the Erwin Cotton Mills in protest of the stretch-out system, costing them two million dollars in wages and costing the company $500,000 in after-tax profits.

The strike involved only 5,000 workers and thus had not attracted the attention of Washington, but, nevertheless, was not a small strike to those involved in it.

The workers had offered to enter arbitration but the company officers had refused. The piece asserts that the owners of the stock in the company should direct the officers to enter arbitration to resolve the strike at once.

Drew Pearson comments that while Democratic National Committee chairman and Postmaster General Robert Hannegan had become increasingly respected in Washington as diligent and honest, he was finding his position increasingly eroded at the White House. The two reasons were that he was kept busy by the demands of the two positions and that he had become the primary "no-man" for President Truman, a role which did not endear him to the President, just as Joseph P. Kennedy, as primary "no-man" to FDR, had found himself on the outside after late 1940.

The "yes-men" from Missouri, from which Mr. Hannegan also hailed, were those attracting the ear of Mr. Truman, even though he remained a close friend to Mr. Hannegan, who had been instrumental in getting Harry Truman on the ticket with FDR in 1944.

During the current week, Mr. Hannegan had told the President he would have to force U.S. Steel to grant a decent wage to the steel workers to avert a strike. He had tangled repeatedly with Reconverter John Snyder, and wanted to clean house among the White House staff.

Mr. Pearson next imparts of an exchange at a cocktail party given by the wife of South Carolina Senator Burnet Maybank at which broadcaster James Crowley was attending. When a man stepped up to Mr. Crowley and said, "I'm Butler Hare," he responded that he would have a scotch and soda. Mrs. Maybank politely informed Mr. Crowley that Mr. Hare was the Congressman from South Carolina, not the butler. Mr. Crowley laughed, as did Mr. Hare, and Mr. Crowley offered then to get Mr. Hare a scotch and soda. Mr. Hare told him that he did not drink.

Finally, Mr. Pearson provides the verbatim transcript of the exchange between Secretary of War Robert Patterson and G.I. newsmen at a press conference at which Mr. Patterson was caught not knowing that discharge point accumulation had ended on September 2, at the time of the formal signing of the treaty of surrender by Japan. Mr. Patterson had assumed that men overseas were still being awarded two points per month. The reporters confided that Mr. Patterson had answered all the other questions candidly and to the best of his ability.

Marquis Childs discusses the appointment of Rear Admiral Earl Mills to be the chairman of the Maritime Commission, replacing Emory Land, leaving to join the private sector. The Comptroller General, Lindsay Warren, had told Congress of the need for a thorough investigation of the commission.

Samuel Grafton remarks that it was becoming increasingly apparent that Congress would not act to intervene in the labor crisis, that a bill to provide compulsory collective bargaining was disliked as much by industry as by labor, and, in consequence, there was no pressure from either side to get Congress to act.

The solution to the problems appeared to be within the marketplace, "in a more whole-souled approach to collective bargaining." It was likely that a solution would be found sooner provided the notion was abandoned that Congress would take the initiative.

Dorothy Thompson finds that she could obtain a more complete picture of what was going on in the German occupation zones from the British press, particularly the British Zone Review, than from American press reports. An article in the December 8 edition had offered that the job of occupation was the responsibility of all Britons.

Ms. Thompson finds fault with the contrasting American approach of leaving occupation to the experts without even imparting to the people who the experts were or the object of their policies. The British Zone Review provided detailed information on the British Zone, but no such information existed for the American Zone.

She wonders what the American policy was toward German trade unions and whether the American labor contentions were correct, that Sidney Hillman had framed the policy and was blocking the creation of independent unions in Germany to prevent Social Democratic leaders from regaining a vestige of authority, and that the pattern of labor should be set by the Russian Zone. There were also assertions from labor that American Communists or sympathizers were being placed in influential positions and that only the extreme leftist anti-Nazis in Germany were being utilized in the occupation, while those from the middle class underground during the war were being ignored. It was also rumored that a revolt was occurring among the German anti-Nazi religious leaders, who did not want to exchange one form of despotic rule for another, that of Russia.

Ms. Thompson asserts that she was not making these inquiries to imply charges but simply giving voice to questions arising from assertions made by other reliable Americans, and underscoring the need for information to confirm or dispute these claims. She believes that the lack of information in part was the reason for the dissatisfaction of American troops, for while German respect for the British was rising, it was diminishing for Americans.

A letter to the editor signed by several soldiers at Fort Bragg condemns a piece by Leonard Hall, published in the newspaper on January 14. The piece did not appear on the editorial page, and so we cannot assess the validity of the attack by the letter writers, who found it to be "juvenile prattling", holding the G.I. up to ridicule while speaking of "corroding young men" and "a man without comforting women".

The editors note that Mr. Hall had the "left hook" coming and were glad that it had been delivered so effectively.

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